Introduction to WordPress Development: A Definitive Guide

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Editorial,  15 min read,  updated on September 17, 2023

1. Introduction to WordPress

WordPress is an open source CMS (content management system) website development framework written in PHP. This is probably the easiest, quickest way to develop a shiny new website by keeping the cost low. Either you are a developer or a non-geek, you can quickly build website and give a fresh look by choosing the theme and plugin of your choice.

According to a study by W3Techs, around 26.7% of websites are powered by WordPress; and around 59.3% form the total CMS market share.

WordPress was started as a personal blogging platform built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPLv2. WordPress was forked from multi-user multi-blog engine called b2/cafelog. WordPress was originally developed by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, and currently maintained and developed by a team of developers that includes Mullenweg.

Since its first public release on May 27, 2003, WordPress is the first choice for small bloggers. However, over the time, it gained maturity to rule the web being a fully-featured content management system. Now WordPress is now a matured and stable product.

2. WordPress Features

WordPress is free, easy to use, and packed with excellent features. The following is a list of some of the features that come as standard with WordPress installation.

2.1. Open Source & Free Platform

WordPress is an Open Source community software. You have the freedom to modify and do whatever you like with WordPress code. You may extend it or modify to use it for commercial projects without any licensing fees.

2.2. Simple and Flexible

WordPress is simple! Whether you’re a developer or a publisher. It’s one click installation takes care of all under the hood complexities and makes it easy to setup. Simplicity makes it possible for you to get online and get publishing, quickly.

In the later chapters, we will see how to install WordPress manually and using one click installation.

With WordPress, you can create any type of website you want: a personal blog, photo blog, business website, government website, magazine or news website or an online community portal.

If you are on news or media business, you can also build a network of websites using WordPress multisite options.

2.3. Publish and Manage Content

WordPress allows you to edit, publish and manage content easily via Admin Dashboard. You may also publish content from your fingertips by downloading the Android, iOS or Desktop application.

You can create a new Posts and Pages, format them easily, insert media contents, and make it live with the click of a button. Contents can be scheduled for future to publish themselves automatically.

Other publishing tools includes, Draft auto save, post revisions, public or private posts, etc.

Like they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”, which is why, including image or video content into post always catch reader’s attention. Good use of media objects in article is also a driving factor for search engine ranking. WordPress allows users to easily upload media objects using drag and drop uploader. You can insert images, galleries, edit title, captions etc. using inbuilt image editing tools.

Introduction to WordPress Development: A Definitive Guide

2.4. Customize Look Using Themes

WordPress websites can be customized and given a fresh new look by changing the website themes. When you install WordPress, it comes with two default themes.

You can browse and choose themes from WordPress theme directory or purchase a premium theme from third party seller. Themes downloaded from third party seller, can be installed by uploading either with one click upload from WordPress dashboard or via FTP method.

WordPress Themes

2.5. User & Access Management

WordPress lets you add users with different access levels such as administrator, editor, author, contributor and subscriber. Site Admins manage the site, editors work with content, authors and contributors write that content, and subscribers have a profile that they can manage.

The user role control the level of site management granted to user, including the ability to write, edit or publish content on your site. Users with lower access roles will see limited options in the WordPress Dashboard when they are logged in.

2.6. Built-in Comments

Comments are one of the vital part of every blogging platform. Comments on blog invite readers to participate on discussions and that helps in continuous user engagement. WordPress’s inbuilt comment tools give you everything you need to start a discussion, post a reply or moderate any discussion.


2.7. Multilingual Support

WordPress is available in more than 70 languages. Building the website for language other than English, is super easy.

2.8. Import and Export Tools

Are you using any other blogging platforms and not happy with? Moving your existing content to WordPress is super quick with WordPress Importer tools. You can move content from blogger, Live Journal, Movable Type, TypePad, Tumblr, and other WordPress website.

If you’re ready to move away from WordPress, you can use the Export Tools to download all your content into single file. However, you still have to separately upload media and attachment files.

2.9. Extend with Plugins

The features outlined above comes with standard WordPress websites; however, there are literally thousands of plugins that extend what WordPress does, so the actual functionality is nearly limitless.

3. WordPress Codex Repository

The WordPress Codex is the central repository of all the information that the official WordPress team has published to help people work with WordPress.

The Codex has some basic tutorials for getting started with WordPress, such as a detailed step-by-step discussion of the installation, and lists of every template actions and hooks.

If you’re an experienced developer, you can access to Code API documentation from WordPress Developer reference site.